Letter To A Mac User

Dear Mac User;

Let me start by saying don't panic! This letter might seem long, but I assure it is very user friendly. I use easy to understand language and don’t get muddled up with difficult technical terms. Please keep reading, I promise you can do it. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to incorporate some stunning yet simple graphics into this note, but as I’m just a PC user, I don't understand such things.

I’m writing this to help you understand the main differences between what I am, a geek, and what you are a user. As a geek I have an inherent love of computers. When I say that, I want you to understand, that I’m for all machines that fit into that category. This is sort of how I imagine a car person feels about automobiles. I long to open the hood and tweak the manifold, or whatever parts you find under the hood of a car. I really wouldn’t know, I haven’t got a clue about cars. I just turn it on and it works. I like to drive but don't want to be bothered much past, keeping air in the tires and gas in the tank.

In this we are similar. Most Apple people I know really don’t like computers the way a mechanic likes cars. They just want to use it for typing or browsing their email, or accessing their iTunes, for their iPhone, or iPod on their iMac. Maybe some iWork, or iLife over their sleek Apple Airport on their iBook. Apples are computers for people who don’t like computers. This is fine, but please don’t pretend you have a clue how it works.

When I hear knocking under my cars hood I know I haven’t a prayer of fixing it. I certainly don’t tell the mechanic that he needs to adjust the timing on the piston ring, or zap the p ram, because this car is different than other cars that he is familiar with. It’s insides are special and they cost me more money. I paid this money not because I was had by the salesman, but because it’s a very pretty car that’s easy to drive and as such it is worth more. I should know, I read the marketing pamphlet at the auto retailer! It was very easy to follow.

Most Apple people I know are shocked to find out that some arcane and ridiculously old engine like Unix is actually the driving force that runs their stylish beast. I’m not sure which primal animal service pack is the newest machination of OS X but I’m sure it is the descriptive antithesis for the end users grasp of the Mac’s power. Using their absurdly simple single button mouse, they are clicking and dragging away on some Internet Safari to download Tiger, Panther or Leopard. They are unaware that the useless rectangle called a ‘keyboard’ sits sallow under a ever growing pile of dust. You might be surprised to know that the keyboard used in conjunction with the command line could unlock the true nature of your machine. Maybe if Apple replaced all those ‘complex’ letters with pictures and renamed it to iKey it would get more use.

Anyway the issue is that for so many years I’ve been making fun of Mac users, because first off you absolutely deserved it and second off you were touting this toy machine as a computer. Since the release of OS X, built on BSD, I find that I’m now a Macintosh computer expert. Additionally the Macintosh has moved from pre-school novelty to a system with real geek appeal. This fact is hard to come to grips with. Luckily none of you Mac users have any clue that something has changed. Which means that I can go right along abusing you and your computing habits. At least for that I’m thankful.

Sincerely Yours

Peter "CLI" Brown


Windy City Survivors said...

I thought that was very interesting. I have no clue about the "insides" of my computers. Wayne put our latest computer together, but our next computer will be a Mac because they offer so much more for digital photography and video. I have to say that Mac has killed the PC with the commercials they have. Those are funny!

Ando said...

For the record Mac's don't offer anymore for vids or photogs than a PC. Not anymore. Please note already complemented video as evidence. :)

Also, Kludge, did you know that a geek was originally one who bit the heads off snakes at the carnival? Food for thought.

Tara said...

I love my Mac. Is it stylish? Yes. Is it cool? Yes. Does it run well? Yes. Then I am happy.

Ando, perhaps Macs don't offer anymore for vids or photos than a PC, but in the entertainment industry the Mac is what everyone uses. Based on that I would think that alone gives Mac an upper hand in having better software and features for videos and photos, simply by popular demand. (And rich too).

kludge said...


My very first computer was a Mac. Back in those days, I loved its simplicity and totally understand why people like them.

Since then I've come to understand I can do so much more, and at such a cost savings, with other systems, it's hard to justify paying more for less.

But if you go Mac, more power to you! :)

kludge said...


Here here! One of these days I'll have to steer you over to Linux. I think you would be surprised at the features incorporated in open source video software packages.

I'm glad that isn't on my job requirement list. I prefer the currently accepted meaning.

kludge said...


Again, I'm not a Mac hater, I just like to poke fun at Mac users.

As for acceptance I agree, I couldn't wrestle Macs away from marketing people I've worked with. They believe Mac is the ONLY way. That philosophy is one reason I have so much fun jeering them.

They believe they have the guiding light of truth and I'm to stupid to understand it!

Good times!

J Crew said...

I don't know what I like. This should be no surprise to anyone. I know as much about computers as I do about cars, which is not good. I do know that I liked this post and it is nice to see the Kludge back on top of his game

kludge said...

J Crew-

Don't worry, I feel the same way about sports. I cheer when everyone else does, but I haven't got a clue why.

Thanks again for the idea!

SJ said...

I personally love my MAC. (And I do like MAC users :) )

Ando said...

You're right Tara, that the entertainment biz is pretty much a Mac haven, but their all hippies so can they really be trusted?

For the consumer, there isn't much of a difference anymore...except PC's are cheaper and easier to upgrade. :)

kludge said...

SJ -

I know you do.

I personally love technology and certainly enjoy instructing my computer to do my bidding. But when a Mac user says they 'love' their computer it feels different somehow. Like the love they feel for an offspring...

...I just don't get it.

Tara said...

I cannot argue that PCs are a worthy foe to the Mac, especially since they are more affordable. I imagine the entermainment industry now loves Mac simply because of habit, always have always will. Ando, you make a good point that people in Hollyweird cannot be trusted. I am surprised you have not jumped on the Linux bandwagon. By having it open source so anyone can contribute and constantly tweak things, Linux is very appealing to those who are computer savvy.

*I will say Macs are (in my experiance) better in dealing with spyware and are surprisingly user friendly.

My husband just built his new desktop and it was very affordable compared to what a Mac would offer. He is also very surprised at how impressive the Windows Vista is. But I think we can all acknowledge that Macs have made a more than impressive comeback, thanks to Steve Jobs.

Is anyone else a little appalled that I know more about computers than my brother? :)

Jeremy said...

For obvious reasons I have limited myself from weighing in on this little debate. Needless to say I think that new Apple Users (the infamous "switchers") are the ones who are not clued into what's running underneath the hood of their machine. However the old school Mac folks really do what's going on underneath the hood and their authentic "geekness" remains intact.

I do like using a computer, and to me a Mac is just an easier way to do the things I want to do. Thanks for poking fun at me, I am sure I will find a way to poke fun back at you!

MemeSlider said...

I became bored by the end of the first paragraph. Can someone tell me... Was this worth reading?

SJ said...

I certainly hope that I don't love my Mac the way I will (and already do) love my offspring - - - the love I have for my mac doesn't run that deep.

kludge said...


Macs may change but Mac users will always be the same. I think you sum it up best with - "Mac is just an easier way to do the things I want to do."

This flies in the face of Rule #8
"It is more complicated than you think."

And please, get me back. You know I deserve it and I assure you, I can take it! :)

kludge said...

MemeSlider -

Some people liked it. But to each his own.

Either way I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment.